Shopping for your new remote classroom can be exciting! We’ve done some of the hard work for you.
If you have not yet had an uplift (Education Department paid removal) and you don’t have restricted allowance (some states do) then you might consider bringing classroom resources with you to save on hassle sourcing items when you arrive.
Some rural and remote community schools are very well resourced. Some are very poorly resourced. Discuss what you should expect in your classroom, technology wise, stationary and classroom resources and class budget with your administration team or head of learning.
Once you have established what you will have access to and what you will not you might consider seeking additional resources out. This might include: additional technology resources (iPads, computers, cameras), art supplies, furniture (lap desks, bookshelves, small whiteboards), soft furnishings (rugs, curtains, cushions, sit spots), resources (blue tac, hooks, sticky notes).
- Do I really need this item? Will it make my teaching, classroom environment or student learning experience better? If not it might just be clutter. Read the following articles to reflect on ‘Dos and Don’t of Classroom Decorations’, ‘Heavily Decorated Classrooms Disrupt Learning’, ‘Decoration or distraction’.
- Can I get this item recycled or free? Firstly, 83% of teachers spend their own money on supplies at an average of $874 per year so you shouldn’t have to spend more! Secondly, recycling items increases their life cycle, reduces waste and helps reduce the impact on the environment. Thirdly, it will mean that you will be less likely to be upset when/if a child accidentally breaks/graffities/damages/loses the item in your classroom. Fourthly, it models great values for our students.
- What message am I sending to my students by using this item in my classroom? Are my resources culturally appropriate? Are they age appropriate? Do they promote appropriate values (ie. Barbie dolls promoting body image of ‘white, thin, big breasts= beauty’? Halloween promoting consumerism, sugar food, American values, ghosts etc)? Does it make my classroom more inviting or less?
- What is the life cycle of this product? Will it last the time I need it to- even better will it last multiple years in a remote classroom? Is it fit for purpose (ie. not small parts for early childhood, or fall apart easily, white in a red dirt classroom etc).
Ask for donations
- Post on your local Facebook groups and your social media pages seeking donations. Ask your local charities, churches and schools if they will collect items for you.
- Be specific with items that you need. Common requests: stationary, old tech (cameras, memory cards, batteries and cords), books (donated books are great for things like take home readers. You can usually build your classroom library with books from Indigenous Literacy Foundation or Deadly Science), rugs, curtains, cushions, blankets, bean bags.
- Additional or un-needed resources may be useful for other teachers, a local charity to pass on again.
Opportunity shops, garage sales, tip shops, buy swap and sell websites
- Lots of bargains can be found at these second hand locations- just make sure you shop before your uplift is taken otherwise little things can add up.
- You will get lots of bargains and help reduce waste- but items from garage sales and online groups will not be claimable on tax. Items with receipts from Op Shops may* be able to be claimed but it is best to discuss with your accountant.
- U by Kotex has free classroom period packs available for order
- Libra has an educator pack to help teach about puberty
- Colgate has free dental health kits for classrooms
- Kmart has recently had some excellent teaching resources in response to Covid-19 and the need for ‘home school’ resources.
- The Sports section has some great items that can be adapted for lots of uses in and out of your classroom- flat markers (sit spots, sports markers), fuzzie balls (classroom games, fiddle toys).
- The Home section also has some gold- baskets,
- Obviously the Toy section will have some educational toys and resources.
First Nations Suppliers
- Amazing rug designs at Emro
- Koori Educator- books, puppets and other resources
- Riley Callie Resources- stamps
- Deadly Science
- Magabala Books
- We have a full list of great suppliers here.
(Links as of Jan 2021- product specific links may have changed by date of reading).